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"I Believe!!!"


Joshpantera
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My ex christian beliefs are as follows in 10 simple points, each of which has been the focus of one debate / discussion or another around here: 

 

1 ) I believe that all religions are man made social constructs geared towards politicizing ancient mythology and folklore. 

2 ) I believe that no one really knows with certainty the answer to the question of origins or destination. 

3 ) I believe that the bible is demonstrably false from the outset as a guide to the truth of the universe or the human condition. 

4 ) I believe that anything basing itself on the assumption that the bible is true is automatically false, as the bible is demonstrably false. 

5 ) I believe that morality is an evolved concept which continues to evolve and has never been static or handed down from on high. 

6 ) I believe that the morality of the biblical writings is long since outdated and mostly irrelevant to modern society. 

7 ) I believe that modern scholarship has revealed the truth about the biblical writings and the evolving theistic concepts contained therein. 

8 ) I believe that it's both intellectually honest and well intended to expose what truths can be demonstrated about the bible and christianity, through counter apologetics. 

9 ) I believe that as painful as it may be at times, it's ultimately for the greater good that christianity and similar religions are losing membership and declining into the future under the weight of their own growing lack of relevance. 

10 ) I believe that humanity doesn't need organized religions in the contemporary period in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along according the standards of modern society. 

 

 

What do you believe???? 

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What do I believe?

 

I believe that I can agree with points 2 through 9.

 

But I also believe that I need to modify points 1 and 10, like this.

 

1 )  

I believe that all religions are man made social constructs designed to comfort humans in the face of their own mortality.  That is why every culture and civilization has created stories, tales and myths that they tell themselves to help stave off the terror of impending non-existence.  Along the way certain people came to realize that by politicizing their mythology and folklore, they could gain power over the lives and thoughts of others.  Thus religion became codified and settled into hierarchies and power structures that held sway over kings and commoners alike.  This kind of cynical religious exploitation is alive and well today.

 

10 )

 For the reasons given in point 1, I believe that humanity doesn't need the fluff and circus show of religion in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along.  Instead, empathy is the one thing that would help people to do what's right, to be decent, and to get along.  Experience in this forum has shown that religiously-minded people often have an empathy deficit towards others and often feel the need to rely on ancient rules of morality imposed upon them from upon high and believed to real, by faith.  They are not comfortable working out moral solutions with others on an equal, one-to-one basis.  But if they possessed greater empathy towards others their overreliance on absolute morality would diminish and they would become better people without bringing a god into the equation.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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I think that most every atheist like myself would agree with what you have written above concerning their beliefs also. My comments regard numbers 8 through 10.

 

8 ) I believe that it's both intellectually honest and well intended to expose what truths can be demonstrated about the bible and Christianity, through counter apologetics. 

 

Although intellectually honest, exposure of non-truths could depend on the circumstances. To openly discuss such things without invitation may not always be well-intended. It depends on the person. When not invited, it can also be perceived as being overly aggressive. 

 

9 ) I believe that as painful as it may be at times, ............--- painful to some who speak it, and some who listen to it, or both.  Some day religion in general will be laughed at by almost everybody, as we presently laugh at Greek mythology IMO.

 

10 ) I believe that humanity doesn't need the fluff and circus show of religion in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along. 

 

Although in our society and most others, there is a common understanding of what is moral and what is not, much of today's morality has religious underpinnings. The cultural understanding is that for society in general, we must not trespass or take advantage of others without their consent. But most atheists are also aware that in the end, all morality is subjective IMO.

 

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3 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

What do I believe?

 

I believe that I can agree with points 2 through 9.

 

But I also believe that I need to modify points 1 and 10, like this.

 

1 )  

I believe that all religions are man made social constructs designed to comfort humans in the face of their own mortality.  That is why every culture and civilization has created stories, tales and myths that they tell themselves to help stave off the terror of impending non-existence.  Along the way certain people came to realize that by politicizing their mythology and folklore, they could gain power over the lives and thoughts of others.  Thus religion became codified and settled into hierarchies and power structures that held sway over kings and commoners alike.  This kind of cynical religious exploitation is alive and well today.

 

10 )

 For the reasons given in point 1, I believe that humanity doesn't need the fluff and circus show of religion in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along.  Instead, empathy is the one thing that would help people to do what's right, to be decent, and to get along.  Experience in this forum has shown that religiously-minded people often have an empathy deficit towards others and often feel the need to rely on ancient rules of morality imposed upon them from upon high and believed to real, by faith.  They are not comfortable working out moral solutions with others on an equal, one-to-one basis.  But if they possessed greater empathy towards others their overreliance on absolute morality would diminish and they would become better people without bringing a god into the equation.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

I believe that the amendments to 1) and 10) are self evidently true and correct in scope and depth. 

 

The demonstrations on this forum of a type of empathy deficit towards others by many visiting christians has been self evident. And a matter of public record. Which raises an entire issue unto itself concerning the correlations between empathy deficit minded people and clinging to christianity. I'm sure that sooner or later another christian will be coming along who will want to take issue with this thread when they see it. 

 

I wish them the best of luck trying NOT to prove our points in the process!!!

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On 7/8/2021 at 6:33 PM, pantheory said:

8 ) I believe that it's both intellectually honest and well intended to expose what truths can be demonstrated about the bible and Christianity, through counter apologetics. 

 

Although intellectually honest, exposure of non-truths could depend on the circumstances. To openly discuss such things without invitation may not always be well-intended. It depends on the person. When not invited, it can also be perceived as being overly aggressive. 

 

Whether I'm doing it or someone else, I do believe that good intentions are underlying the counter apologetics. Simply because when a lie has been told and someone who identifies the lie as a lie puts it on blast, they intend to stop a lie at the heart of it. 

 

I do believe that you're right about the abruptness factor and that one does need to pick and choose when and where to expose lies like this. So I'll qualify 8 ) as within a relevant setting like here on the internet and within debate settings. Today I was in the home of local SDA's and opted not to tell them that everything they believe is true is really a lie. It wasn't the time or place. And would have been somewhat out of context and beyond overly aggressive. 

 

On 7/8/2021 at 6:33 PM, pantheory said:

10 ) I believe that humanity doesn't need the fluff and circus show of religion in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along. 

 

Although in our society and most others, there is a common understanding of what is moral and what is not, much of today's morality has religious underpinnings. The cultural understanding is that for society in general, we must not trespass or take advantage of others without their consent. But most atheists are also aware that in the end, all morality is subjective IMO.

 

I believe you're right but only because our evolving morality has arisen along side of religions. They are not the source of it. The source is common sense and social pressures. Along with what looks like empathy as a natural human trait which was clearly lesser evolved in the past and has gradually increased with time and evolution. Which leads to my agreement with WalterP.

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This is just for an example, but I'm looking at the world pantheism movement where a set of beliefs or principles are stated to establish the group purpose:  Principles of Scientific Pantheism – World Pantheism

 

  1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder.
  2. All matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part. We rejoice in our existence and seek to participate ever more deeply in this unity through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art.
  3. We are an integral part of Nature, which we should cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We should strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally. We acknowledge the inherent value of all life, human and non-human, and strive to treat all living beings with compassion and respect.
  4. All humans are equal centers of awareness of the Universe and nature, and all deserve a life of equal dignity and mutual respect. To this end we support and work towards freedom, democracy, justice, and non-discrimination, and a world community based on peace, sustainable ways of life, full respect for human rights and an end to poverty.
  5. There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united.
  6. We see death as the return to nature of our elements, and the end of our existence as individuals. The forms of “afterlife” available to humans are natural ones, in the natural world. Our actions, our ideas and memories of us live on, according to what we do in our lives. Our genes live on in our families, and our elements are endlessly recycled in nature.
  7. We honor reality, and keep our minds open to the evidence of the senses and of science’s unending quest for deeper understanding. These are our best means of coming to know the Universe, and on them we base our aesthetic and religious feelings about reality.
  8. Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe and Nature. There is no need for mediation by priests, gurus or revealed scriptures.
  9. We uphold the separation of religion and state, and the universal human right of freedom of religion. We recognize the freedom of all pantheists to express and celebrate their beliefs, as individuals or in groups, in any non-harmful ritual, symbol or vocabulary that is meaningful to them.
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So what I did in the OP is something akin to the above example. 

 

I was thinking about what positive beliefs can be stated with pretty firm certainty behind each belief. Where ample citation can be provided for each positive belief. Mostly because I look around and see various groups who have belief statements which are ultimately weak and easily refuted. It can be christian denominations, or new age beliefs, or just about anything. Very few, if any, have anything powerful backing the individual positive beliefs. 

 

And as ex christians and the generally non-religious we all tend to put a lot of focus or attention on what we do not believe, as opposed to putting more attention on the things we do believe in. It's a safe space. And rightfully so. No one can knock you down when you're not espousing positive beliefs. So it makes sense to gather around firmer, safer ground where religions and belief are concerned. 

 

But what if the ground were just as firm from a positive belief perspective?

 

In order for that to be the case each positive belief would have to be tried and proven one by one. To where it would impossible or at least extremely difficult for a naysayer from opposition to refute the stated beliefs. The one's I posted seem firm enough, but they need to be scrutinized by christians and others to be fully tried and proven. 

 

The WPM is line by line pretty good. There's some opinion in the statement of beliefs, but I see where the opinions have citation that can be brought in to back them up. It looks like a pretty solid set of 9 beliefs for the most part. And my 10 ex christian oriented beliefs would apply to a much bigger audience as far as that goes, including probably a lot of pantheists in the process of applying to larger scale audiences.  

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If these beliefs could be worked into a movement, I think that a good name could be the, "Next Stage Movement." Based on positive beliefs and illustrating good intentions, while critiquing organized religions including christianity. Toward the benefit of making the next evolutionary move forward away from the ancient need for organized religions. They may have served a purpose in the past, which, is becoming increasingly outdated now. 

 

NSM

 

 

 

 

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On 7/8/2021 at 5:28 PM, walterpthefirst said:

I believe that humanity doesn't need the fluff and circus show of religion in order for people to do what's right, be decent, and get along.  Instead, empathy is the one thing that would help people to do what's right, to be decent, and to get along.  Experience in this forum has shown that religiously-minded people often have an empathy deficit towards others and often feel the need to rely on ancient rules of morality imposed upon them from upon high and believed to real, by faith.  They are not comfortable working out moral solutions with others on an equal, one-to-one basis.  But if they possessed greater empathy towards others their overreliance on absolute morality would diminish and they would become better people without bringing a god into the equation.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

For whatever it is worth, I agree that we don't need the "fluff and circus" of religion (or politics) but it seems about half the world still "wants" it.  They are too lazy to think for themselves, and have been conditioned early in life for authoritarian thinking, to just follow, and be loyal to our flamboyant, "God given" leaders.   Our moral evolution is evolving very slowly.  And is stymied by conservative religion and politicians who discourage critical thinking, and higher education, in an attempt to keep things "as is".  One of the first things authoritarians do (political or religious) is to stop or discourage education.   And it seems authoritarian forces world wide are pulling out all the stops to stay in control.  And they become even more powerful when politics and religion are united.  For our children's well-being, hopefully the tipping point toward a rational, educated democracy will happen soon.

 

Due to life's situations my time is very limited these days, but I'll try to visit the forum from time to time.  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

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On 7/18/2021 at 2:49 PM, Joshpantera said:

If these beliefs could be worked into a movement, I think that a good name could be the, "Next Stage Movement." Based on positive beliefs and illustrating good intentions, while critiquing organized religions including christianity. Toward the benefit of making the next evolutionary move forward away from the ancient need for organized religions. They may have served a purpose in the past, which, is becoming increasingly outdated now. 

 

NSM

 

 

 

 

I agree we need a new "movement", but it is hard to "trump" (I hate to us that word, but it is all that came to mind) flamboyant, self proclaimed, "god given" experts.  Do you have any idea as to getting a rational, evidence based movement off the ground?

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21 hours ago, Weezer said:

I agree we need a new "movement", but it is hard to "trump" (I hate to us that word, but it is all that came to mind) flamboyant, self proclaimed, "god given" experts.  Do you have any idea as to getting a rational, evidence based movement off the ground?

 

I was just starting with the beliefs introduction. Looking at groups who exist with belief statements and thinking about how to frame one hell of a rock solid set of beliefs as the foundation for then looking at what could come of it. 

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On 7/17/2021 at 10:52 AM, Joshpantera said:

This is just for an example, but I'm looking at the world pantheism movement where a set of beliefs or principles are stated to establish the group purpose:  Principles of Scientific Pantheism – World Pantheism

 

  1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder.
  2. All matter, energy, and life are an interconnected unity of which we are an inseparable part. We rejoice in our existence and seek to participate ever more deeply in this unity through knowledge, celebration, meditation, empathy, love, ethical action and art.
  3. We are an integral part of Nature, which we should cherish, revere and preserve in all its magnificent beauty and diversity. We should strive to live in harmony with Nature locally and globally. We acknowledge the inherent value of all life, human and non-human, and strive to treat all living beings with compassion and respect.
  4. All humans are equal centers of awareness of the Universe and nature, and all deserve a life of equal dignity and mutual respect. To this end we support and work towards freedom, democracy, justice, and non-discrimination, and a world community based on peace, sustainable ways of life, full respect for human rights and an end to poverty.
  5. There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united.
  6. We see death as the return to nature of our elements, and the end of our existence as individuals. The forms of “afterlife” available to humans are natural ones, in the natural world. Our actions, our ideas and memories of us live on, according to what we do in our lives. Our genes live on in our families, and our elements are endlessly recycled in nature.
  7. We honor reality, and keep our minds open to the evidence of the senses and of science’s unending quest for deeper understanding. These are our best means of coming to know the Universe, and on them we base our aesthetic and religious feelings about reality.
  8. Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe and Nature. There is no need for mediation by priests, gurus or revealed scriptures.
  9. We uphold the separation of religion and state, and the universal human right of freedom of religion. We recognize the freedom of all pantheists to express and celebrate their beliefs, as individuals or in groups, in any non-harmful ritual, symbol or vocabulary that is meaningful to them.

 

I liked the first two, but the problem with the second one is that not all humans are equal centers of awareness (4).

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5 hours ago, StillChristian said:

 

I liked the first two, but the problem with the second one is that not all humans are equal centers of awareness (4).

 

Perhaps you could tell us in what way you are still a Christian, StillChristian?

 

I ask because, if you liked the first two, the first one is totally at odds with Biblical Christianity.

 

  1. We revere and celebrate the Universe as the totality of being, past, present and future. It is self-organizing, ever-evolving and inexhaustibly diverse. Its overwhelming power, beauty and fundamental mystery compel the deepest human reverence and wonder.

No mention here of the universe being created by a god.

No mention here of god imposing order upon the universe.

No mention here of god creating the universe for a purpose.

No mention here of the heavens declaring the glory of god.

No mention of god at all.

 

So, could you please explain?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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9 hours ago, StillChristian said:

 

I liked the first two, but the problem with the second one is that not all humans are equal centers of awareness (4).

 

Well, hello! 

 

I see that this is your first post here, StillChristian. I think I understand your objection. Clearly not all humans are equal centers of awareness in terms of knowledge, comprehension, intellect, IQ, and similar. On that point I have no choice but to agree. It's impossible to argue the claim from that angle. 

 

But being that it's the world pantheism movement and this is a more philosophical oriented claim, it can be maintained that all humans are equal centers of awareness in terms of awareness itself - the very act of being aware. And this is an important distinction. Because they're calling attention to mutual dignity and respect for everyone on the basis of equality as centers of awareness and experience in and of itself. Regardless of intellect, IQ, knowledge, and so on. 

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9 hours ago, StillChristian said:

There is a single kind of substance, energy/matter, which is vibrant and infinitely creative in all its forms. Body and mind are indivisibly united.

 

I just looked back at #5 again. After the massive deep dive I've taken into analytic idealism philosophy. This belief #5 is written in such a way as to apply to either a philosophical materialist view or a philosophical idealist view. It works both ways depending on the perspective of the person reading it. For the idealist energy/matter is viewed as phenomenal consciousness or fundamental nature oriented awareness. It should apply both ways because the truth isn't set in stone and settled. Either way, body and mind are indivisibly united. And that can be a point of consensus between the materialist and idealist pantheists. 

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Has anyone ever adequately defined "mind", though?  Seems specious to say body and "mind" are indivisible until we know what mind is exactly. 

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11 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Has anyone ever adequately defined "mind", though?  Seems specious to say body and "mind" are indivisible until we know what mind is exactly. 


I think a plausible definition of “mind” would be the various thoughts and feelings that exist thanks to the brain. After death, the brain still exists but the mind presumably “evaporates”, for want of a better word.  
 

I suspect I’m dumbing this down a bit for the liking of the deeper thinkers among us.  

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52 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Has anyone ever adequately defined "mind", though?  Seems specious to say body and "mind" are indivisible until we know what mind is exactly. 

I would say the most common-use general ideas of the word “mind” concerning the dictionary definitions of the word would be the mental activities of a person occurring in the brain separate from the other parts of the body, primary 2a  of the definitions found below, often related to reasoning, with consideration of its other meanings depending upon the context.  

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mind

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41 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Has anyone ever adequately defined "mind", though?  Seems specious to say body and "mind" are indivisible until we know what mind is exactly. 

 

The mind could be an emergent property of the brain.

 

The brain (and all matter) could be an emergent property of mind. 

 

Mind appears to be thoughts and feelings, like TABA said. Without the ability to experience or observe someone else's thoughts or awareness I am unable to logically conclude that the mind dies when the brain dies. All I can conclude is that no more words come from the mouth of a dead body. 

 

Someone might assert that since the brain is dead the mind ceases as well. Someone could assert with equal confidence that psychics talk to disembodied souls. It all depends on your personal belief preference and allowance for assumptions. 

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21 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Someone might assert that since the brain is dead the mind ceases as well. Someone could assert with equal confidence that psychics talk to disembodied souls.


Having experienced general anesthesia has helped me to think about being dead and also to doubt that any thoughts - any aspect of the mind - would survive the death of the brain.

 
Anesthesia is not the same as death, of course, but clearly medical science can cause all thoughts and feelings to be suspended by acting on the nervous system, in a way that is much more profound than sleep, for example.  

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16 hours ago, StillChristian said:

 

I liked the first two, but the problem with the second one is that not all humans are equal centers of awareness (4).

 

One aspect of the Christian faith that became evident to me as I fell away into apostasy was realization that not all human beings WANT to be possessed of the greatest level of awareness possible to them.

That is something that had puzzled me from the edge of my consciousness all my adult life.

 

When I began to question Christianity, I noticed that so many of the Christian believers I knew were actually afraid of conscious awareness beyond that already familiar and comfortable to them.

 

Not that this is unique to Christians, not at all so, but I would have assumed that being "filled with the Holy Spirit" would induce a greater appreciation for awareness and mindfulness as compared to non-believers.

I found that, among those I knew, it was very much lacking.

 

If the understanding of the importance of greatest-possible awareness is not something given by the "Holy Spirit", then clearly I never had any actual understanding of what is meant by believers when referencing the "Holy Spirit".

 

Since then, on the pages of this forum, I have posited the question "what precisely, is a spirit"?

What objective reason is there to believe in the actuality of any spirit of any kind...  human, divine, angel, devil, etc.?

No Christian believer has yet offered an answer... none.

 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, TABA said:


Having experienced general anesthesia ...

 

The Irish are the best makers of "general anesthesia", having elevated it to an art-form over time.

Take some grain, a little malt, pure spring-water...  apply heat...

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7 minutes ago, alreadyGone said:

 

The Irish are the best makers of "general anesthesia", having elevated it to an art-form over time.

Take some grain, a little malt, pure spring-water...  apply heat...


This evening I’ll have a fire in the backyard and will treat my nervous system to some of this… 

 

 

 

8928E85E-C322-4A4C-8D67-03FC518BDB15.jpeg

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33 minutes ago, alreadyGone said:

 

One aspect of the Christian faith that became evident to me as I fell away into apostasy was realization that not all human beings WANT to be possessed of the greatest level of awareness possible to them.

That is something that had puzzled me from the edge of my consciousness all my adult life.

 

When I began to question Christianity, I noticed that so many of the Christian believers I knew were actually afraid of conscious awareness beyond that already familiar and comfortable to them.

 

Not that this is unique to Christians, not at all so, but I would have assumed that being "filled with the Holy Spirit" would induce a greater appreciation for awareness and mindfulness as compared to non-believers.

I found that, among those I knew, it was very much lacking.

 

If the understanding of the importance of greatest-possible awareness is not something given by the "Holy Spirit", then clearly I never had any actual understanding of what is meant by believers when referencing the "Holy Spirit".

 

Since then, on the pages of this forum, I have posited the question "what precisely, is a spirit"?

What objective reason is there to believe in the actuality of any spirit of any kind...  human, divine, angel, devil, etc.?

No Christian believer has yet offered an answer... none.

 

 

 

 

 

i was writing another post and then read this.  looks like we were thinking about the same things sort of - at the same time. :)

 

"When I began to question Christianity, I noticed that so many of the Christian believers I knew were actually afraid of conscious awareness beyond that already familiar and comfortable to them."

 

i guess it's too much about faith, and beliefs for them maybe?  and i'm not sure.   many are not even aware that their scriptures could have errors and are not the originals.  

 

also, have you ever read a book, like a classic, and read about it around the same time in order to understand it.  not all books are written to be taken as truthful accounts.  but people in the know - write about these kinds of things, explain it to people - that, oh - this  book is about this, this is a play, this is a poem, a ballad, a satire, a novel.

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